John Locke: A Responsive Philosopher
John Locke continued to write on epistemological, ontological and ethical topics after the first edition of the Essay concerning Human Understanding had appeared at the end of 1689. Some of these texts were projected as additions to later editions of the Essay and were actually published before or after his death, some were never published, and some were not even intended as additions, although they all address topics that are related to discussions in the Essay. In many cases we still have the original manuscripts of these post-Essay texts. They range from single words to complete tracts. The all have been transcribed and included in the present volume. Details of their history can be found in the next three chapters, which provide a detailed chronology, a description of the manuscripts and textual remarks. These chapters provide materials for an intellectual biography of Locke after the publication of the first edition of the Essay that still remains to be written. The present chapter presents a brief outline of the main events and persons in Locke’s later years, the mutual relation of the texts, and the possible reasons for their conception.
The Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England marked the start of the exile of King James II and the end of the exile of Locke. His patron, Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury (1621-1683), had run into political trouble with King Charles II and fled to the Netherlands in 1682, where Locke arrived in the next year. When the reversal of political fortunes allowed Locke to set foot on English soil again in February 1689, he was still a relatively unknown scholar with hardly anything in print. But in 1689 appeared his Epistola de tolerantia, the Two Treatises of Government and An Essay concerning Human Understanding, of which a French summary had been published a year before. The first two works appeared anonymously, but the Essay, unlike any of his other major works, was published under Locke’s own name and brought him swift renown. His name began to appear on the title page only with the second edition; but he already signed the dedicatory epistle of the first edition. His fame as a philosopher and the political change in England allowed him to become one of the wise old men of the Whig party. He was offerd a position of importance, possibly that of Ambassador to the Elector of Brandenburg, by the new souvereign, King William III. He declined this post but did accept the light function of Commissioner of Appeals and from 1696 until 1700, when health problems became an insurmountable barrier, he held the more substantial post of Commissioner at the Board of Trade. Locke’s asthmatic lungs were allergic to the air of London and from 1691 until his death in 1704 his main place of residence would be an Essex manor house at Oates, where he was invited by Sir Francis Masham (1645-1722), husband of his friend Damaris, Lady Masham (1659-1708).
Oates was occupied by Sir Francis when he was not in London, by his children from a previous marriage, and by Lady Masham and their son, Francis Cudworth Masham (1686-1731). Locke took an interest in the education of this child. Francis was taught Latin by his mother according to Locke’s method, the philosopher provided him with books, introduced the French tutor Pierre Coste (1668-1747) to him, and at his death bequeathed him half his library. The Masham family made Oates a place of agreeable retirement where the aging philosopher could receive his many friends and acquaintances. One good friend was the prosperous landowner Edward Clarke (c. 1650-c. 1710), whose wife Mary Jepp (d. 1706) was related to Locke. Clarke entered the House of Commons for Taunton in 1690 and from 1694 until 1699 he was a Commissioner of Excise. In Parliament he vented many of Locke’s political and monetary opinions.
Another important relation in Locke’s later years was his second cousin Peter King (1669-1734), who was created Baron King of Ockham in 1725 and who served as Lord Chancellor from that year until 1733. King assisted Locke in his business affairs and his correspondence. He inherited the other half of Locke’s library together with his cousin’s manuscripts. He was also entrusted with the execution of Locke’s last will and was the recipient of a letter with instructions concerning the publication of several unfinished works. Another friend was Anthony Collins (1676-1729), a young Etonian with whom Locke had become acquainted in the Spring of 1703. Collins was to publish two tributes to Locke in 1708 and 1720. He became a deist and a freethinker and would make a significant contribution to the development of modern biblical criticism. Other visitors at Oates included the deist philosopher Anthony Ashley Cooper (1671-1713), third Earl of Shaftesbury, grandson of the first Earl and Locke’s former pupil, and Isaac Newton.
Locke first came to the subject matter of his Essay in the company of ‘five or six Friends meeting at my Chamber’ and he continued to organize similar gatherings during his Dutch exile and in London after his return to England. The main stimulus and recipient of Locke’s mature philosophical thought was the Irish scientist and politician William Molyneux (1656-1698). He was the driving force behind the Dublin Philosophical Society and in 1692 he published the Dioptrica Nova. In the dedicatory letter to this work he lavished praise on Locke’s Essay and Locke’s first letter to Molyneux, in which he thanks Molyneux for his praise, inaugurated a fruitful correspondence. The epistolary friends would meet only once, shortly before Molyneux’s death. An indication of Locke’s esteem for Molyneux can be found in a letter that he wrote on 15 June 1697:
I never have any thoughts working in my head, or any new project start in my mind, but my wishes carry me immediately to you, and I desire to lay them before you. You may justly think this carries a pretty severe reflection on my country, or my self, that in it I have not a friend to communicate my thoughts with. I cannot much complain of want of friends to other purposes. But a man with whom one can freely seek truth, without any regard to old or new, fashionable or not fashionable, but truth merely for truth’s sake, is what is scarce to be found in an age, and such an one I take you to be.
King and Collins, whose acquaintance Locke made after this letter, may have been able to fill something of the vacuum that was left by the demise of Molyneux, but their interests were theological rather than philosophical. The same holds true for such important correspondents in Locke’s later years as the Remonstrant theologian Philippus van Limborch (1633-1712) and the encyclopaedist and biblical scholar Jean le Clerc (1657-1736). Molyneux’s role as admirer of Locke’s philosophy was only partly taken over by the Anglican divine Samuel Bold (1649-1737), rector of Steeple in the Isle of Purbeck; although Bold shared the enthusiasm for Locke’s works, he could not match Molyneux’s intellect.
In spite of his administrative duties and his bad health, Locke managed to maintain a high level of productivity during the last fifteen years of his life. He kept up a voluminous correspondence. Two-thirds of the 3,648 numbered letters in De Beer’s edition (containing letters of Locke but also of his correspondents) were written after 1 January 1689. In 1690 Locke published A Second Letter concerning Toleration, and in 1692 the Third Letter appeared. The year 1691 saw the publication of Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest. In 1693 he published Some Thoughts concerning Education, which had been occasioned by Edward Clarke’s questions about the upbringing of his son Edward. In 1695 appeared The Reasonableness of Christianity which, after attacks by the Calvinist John Edwards (1637-1716), was followed by a A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) and a Second Vindication (1697). In 1695 Locke also published his Short Observations on a Printed Paper, followed in the same year by Further Considerations concerning Raising the Value of Money. In 1697 he followed Molyneux’s suggestion to fend an attack on his Essay by Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699), Bishop of Worcester, which led to a fierce polemic. To Stillingfleet’s Vindication (dated 1697, published 1696) Locke replied with a Letter (1697); Stillingfleet’s First Answer (1697) was rejoined by Locke’s First Reply (1697); and on Stillingfleet’s Second Answer (1698) followed Locke’s Second Reply (dated 1699, published 1698). Around 1699 Locke produced the Elements of Natural Philosophy. This elementary treatise on the contemporary state of knowledge in the various sciences was probably written for Francis Cudworth Masham and was clearly influenced by Newton. In 1702 Locke wrote a Discourse of Miracles and shortly before his death he started the Fourth Letter on Toleration. In his last years Locke devoted his waning energy mainly to work on his comprehensive Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul, which would be published posthumously in 1705-1707.
This impressive list of publications can serve as a reminder that Locke had never been given to philosophy exclusively and that this discipline had always been in competition with other pursuits. Subject analysis of Locke’s final library tells us that only 269 of the 3,641 titles, a mere 7.4 per cent, consisted of books on what would nowadays be called philosophy. Moreover, the nature of his other interests changed in the course of his life. In the earlier catalogue that he made of his books in Oxford in 1681 (comprising not more than 288 titles), 38.8 per cent were medical, 17.4 scientific and only 6.6 per cent theological; in the catalogue of his final library, medical and scientific titles had gone down to 11.1 and 6.6 per cent respectively, while the proportion of theological works had risen to 23.8 per cent. On 11 December 1694 he wrote to Van Limborch that he wanted to give his mind chiefly to theological studies, and in a letter of 11 September 1697 he informed William Molyneux that ‘having now wholly laid by the study of physick, I know not what comes out new, or worth reading, in that faculty’. Locke had started his adult life with a keen interest in medicine, physics and chemistry, and he died a theologian.
Locke produced a substantial part of the texts in the present volume as a reply to more or less urgent external stimuli in the form of friendly demand or polemical attacks. Locke’s responsiveness was part of a wider pattern, and we have seen that questions by Clarke caused Locke to write a complete treatise on education, while the attack by Stillingfleet occasioned three lengthy replies.
On 20 September, in his reply to Locke’s first letter, Molyneux suggested to Locke that he write a demonstrative ethics ‘according to the Mathematical Method’. However happy Locke may have been to oblige his friends, this specific request immediately met with a very qualified endorsement. The theme would haunt their correspondence for the next four years. The curious story of Molyneux’s tenacious exhortations and Locke’s half-hearted promises, followed by renewed objections, until his final resignation from the project in his letter of 5 April 1696, can be followed in the Chronology. Locke had already started a projected chapter to the Essay between 1685 and 1687, ‘Of Ethick in General’ (MS Locke c.28, fols 145-156), in which he drew the outlines of a hedonistic ethics in which good and evil is firmly connected with pleasure and pain. This chapter was never finished and hence not included in the Essay; it will be included in vol II of the Drafts for Essay of the Clarendon Locke Edition. All the fragments on ethics included in the present volume are even shorter and sketchier. There is an almost tragicomical disparity between the size of the correspondence with Molyneux, and Locke’s actual output on the topic of a demonstrated ethics. The use of definitions and axioms in ‘Morality’ and of definitions in ‘Ethica C’ possibly links these texts to the corresopondence with Molyneux; hence the fragments are dated 1692-1696. The connection of another fragment, ‘Thus I thinke’, with the Molyneux correspondence is even more tenuous. The theme of this text, that of long-term versus short-term pleasure is closely related to the fragment ‘Ethica A’, dated 1692 by Locke.
While Molyneux’s stimuli were positive but in the end fruitless, exactly the opposite can be said of the influence of the clergyman John Norris (1657-1711). In 1690 he published a book called Christian Blessedness to which he appended to some Cursory Reflections on Locke’s Essay. Norris was the best known British follower of the French philosopher Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715). Norris had corresponded with the Cambridge Platonist Henry More (1614-1687) and was acquainted with Lady Masham, who was the daughter of another Platonist, Ralph Cudworth (1617-1688). Norris’s Cursory Reflections was the first published attack on Locke’s Essay and concentrates on the lack of a precise definition and explanation of the essence of ideas. A critical review of Norris’s attack was published by Jean le Clerc in the Bibliothèque Universelle (1691); and an English translation of this review appeared in the third volume of the Athenian Gazette, also in 1691. Norris replied to this English version in 1692 with A Brief Consideration. In spite of these polemic activities, Locke at first took no offense at Norris’s criticisms, which where couched in the most polite and admiring phrases. Locke even interceded on Norris’s behalf with the eight Earl of Pembroke (dedicatee of the Essay), who presented Norris with the rectory of Bemerton in Wiltshire, where he would remain for the rest of his life. The first known contact between Locke and Norris consists of a letter of 14 April 1692, in which the former thanks the latter for his successful intercession. In October of that year, however, a private misunderstanding about a letter entrusted by Lady Masham to Norris for delivery to Locke incurred the latter’s implacable wrath. The ensueing rupture was never healed and when Martha Lockhart asked Locke in 1700 to secure a living for another clergyman, a Mr Anderson, she had to assure Locke that ‘he’el not prove a Mr Norris’.
Although the causes were trivial, the quarrel with Norris had a massive polemical fallout. In 1692 Locke first drafted a short and very angry reply to the Cursory Reflections, the ‘Answer to Mr Norris’s Reflections’. There followed a more extensive attack, in 1693, that also included Norris’s Reason and Religion: ‘Some other loose thoughts’, first published in 1720 by Pierre des Maizeaux as Remarks upon some of Mr. Norris’s Books. Norris’s discussion of Locke’s concept of ideas caused Locke to turn to Norris’s own account of ideas. In a third and much longer treatise, also written in 1693, Locke starts again with Norris, but then turns to the origin of Norris’s account: Malebranche’s ‘vision in God’, of which Locke gives a exhaustingly extensive discussion. This treatise is titled ‘Of seeing all things in God’ and was published in 1706 by Peter King as An Examination of P. Malebranche’s Opinion of Seeing All Things in God. In this treatise Locke attacks the ‘vision in God’ by making skilfull polemic use of his epistemological agnosticism concerning substances in general and God in particular. We do not know how God causes our ideas of external bodies, and consequently there is no way of proving the ‘vision in God’. Locke had employed a similar agnostic line of argument in the Essay for various other purposes and would use it again, notably in his writings against Stillingfleet. A good exemple of Locke’s epistemological agnosticism can also be found in the brief entry ‘Ignorantia’. Finally, there is a short undated fragment with remarks on the chapters of Malebranche’s Recherche de la verité that immediately precede Malebranche’s discussion of the ‘vision of God’; this text, ‘Recherche’, is possibly a preliminary exercise for the longer ‘Of seeing’.
By early in 1693 the first edition of the Essay had sold out. In 1692 Locke had already started to revise the work for its second edition, which was published in May 1694. William Molyneux was an important partner in the conception of various changes and additions, including a new chapter ‘Of Identity and Diversity’ (II.xxvii), an extensively reworked discussion of free will in ‘Of Power’ (II.xxi), and the inclusion of the problem named after Molyneux (II.ix.8). Locke had also expressed his discontent about the repetitive and redundant character of the Essay. Molyneux allayed his worries, but Nidditch remarks that, typically, ‘Locke would undoubtedly have been willing to make the necessary changes’. In this period before the appearance of the second edition, Locke made several notes on two half sheets, entered in accordance with his method of commonplacing (MS Locke c.28, fols 113-114). There is no evidence to suggest that these observations were meant as additions to the Essay, but they were related to its content and are included in the present volume. The fragment ‘Ethica B’ states that moral education should be based on knowledge of the proclivities of the pupil. In the fragment ‘Voluntas’, Locke discusses the relation between two topics that were both figuring in his correspondence with Molyneux: morality and free will. The third fragment, ‘Anima A’, contains a critical remark about the Cartesian tenet that the soul is always thinking, a topic that Locke had already discussed extensively in the first edition of the Essay, II.i.10-20.
The second edition of the Essay sold well and preparations for the third edition followed soon. Molyneux sent a short list of errata in the second edition on 15 January 1695, which Locke promised to use in the next edition, and on 26 April of that year he could inform his friend that the ‘third edition of my Essay is already, or will be speedily in the press’. The third edition contains no substantial changes or additions, which is not remarkeable, given the short time that had elapsed since the previous edition. However, we do have MS Locke c.28 fols 115-116, a sheet with six entries that were all projected as additions to the Essay. The first four entries were produced not later than 9 October 1694: ‘Anima B’, ‘Enthusiasm’, ‘Method’, and ‘Libertie’. The last two entries were written after this date: ‘Connection of Ideas’ and ‘We cannot but thinke that angels’. All fragments may have been written for the third edition of the Essay, but none of them was ever included. The longest fragment, ‘Perhaps it will be said’ is another addition to the long and problematic chapter ‘Of Power’, Essay, II.xxi; the subject matter of the fragment ‘Libertie’, on the factors that determine the will, belongs to the same category; both fragments may be the fruit of the correspondence with Molyneux on this subject. The short entry ‘Anima B’ contains an observation on the relation between the (Cartesian) properties of extension and thinking. In the longer entry on ‘Method’ Locke tries to formulate a rule for the comparison between rival philosophical systems, with special attention for the supposed errors of those who deny the existence of God. This entry marks a renewed interest in methodological questions concerning the prevention and cure of error that is already clearly present in the Essay. Book II, prior to the inclusion of the chapter on the association of ideas in the fourth edition, had ended with four chapters about errors in respect of individual ideas (II.xxix-xxxii); book III with chapters on errors that pertain to language (III.ix-x) and with remedies against the abuse of words (III.xi); and Book IV, prior to the inclusion of the division of the sciences in the first and subsequents editions, with a chapter on errors that are relevant to the main theme of that book, i.e. certain and probable knowledge (IV.xx).
Perhaps the most interesting fragments of MS Locke c.28 fols 115-116 are ‘Enthusiasm’ and ‘Connection of Ideas’, even although the latter entry is very short and the former entry empty. Both topics are an instance of Locke’s occupation with error, and these seemingly innocuous entries would eventually develop into two completely new chapters in the fourth edition of the Essay, i.e. the chapters ‘Of Enthusiasm’ (IV.xix) and ‘Of the Association of Ideas’ (II.xxxiii). The interest of the two entries in MS Locke c.28 fols 115-116 lies in the fact that they form the earliest proof of Locke’s occupation with these topics as projected additions to the Essay. It was only on 8 March 1695 that he would inform Molyneux about his intention to add ‘something about Enthusiasm’; and only on 26 April of the same year he announced an addition on ‘the Connexion of Ideas’. Both subjects seem to have been conceived without Molyneux’s stimulus, although there is an intriguing remark by him in a letter to Locke of 18 April 1693, about ‘Enthusiasmes in Divinities’. This remark links enthusiasm to Malebranche’s ‘vision in God’ and hence possibly suggests a connection between the subject of enthusiasm and Locke’s polemical writings of 1692-1693.
In c. 1694-1695 Locke wrote two projected additions to the Essay, III.x, ‘Of the Abuse of Words’ that were again never included: ‘By this learned art’ and ‘We cannot but thinke that angels’. Both contain a critical discussion of the errors of scholastic logic, its sophistry and its disputations.
Locke expected the new additions concerning enthusiasm and the association of ideas to appear first in the Latin translation of the Essay that Molyneux was then trying to arrange. However, De intellectu humano did not appear until 1701 and the new chapters on enthusiasm and association would appear for the first time in the fourth edition of the Essay, which went to the press in 1699 (the Latin translation by Ezekiel Burridge would be a translation of this fourth edition). Locke produced the chapter on enthusiasm between 1695 and 1697 and a complete draft version has survived (‘Enthusiasm’). In the manuscript (MS Locke e.1, pp. 1-30) this text is followed by a list with scriptural passages that has remained unnoticed but is nevertheless interesting, because it refers to modes of original revelation. This topic is clearly related to the discussion of enthusiasm and the list has been included (‘List with scriptural passages’).
Locke continued to have a polemic interest in Descartes (see also ‘Anima B’). The note ‘Deus’, written in 1696, contains a critical examination of Descartes’s ontological proof for the existence of God.
On 22 February 1697 Locke wrote to Molyneux that, after an initial period of quiet, a polemical storm seemed to be gathering over the Essay. His most formidable opponent was Stillingfleet, who took special offence at Locke’s refusal to deny that God was able to create thinking matter in Essay, IV.iii.6. The fragment ‘Ballance the difficulties’ provides additional explanation of this view. It was included in the fourth edition of the Essay, and contains an implicit reference to Stillingfleet, probably to the second of his three attacks, i.e. the First Answer, which was advertised in May 1697.
We do not know when exactly Locke started to work seriously on the association of ideas, but the draft that has survived in MS Locke e.1, pp. 30-56, was probably not produced before 1697. Only the first part of this draft, pp. 30-52 (‘Association’), was used for the fourth edition of the Essay, IV.xxxiii. In sect. 6-7 of this draft we can see Locke trying the expressions ‘Connection of Ideas’ and ‘tieing together of Ideas’, before he finally settles for the novel expression ‘association of Ideas’ (see ill. 12). The last three paragraphs of the text, on pp. 52-56, were used for the ‘Of the Conduct of the Understanding’, par. 76-79.
In April 1697 Locke started work on the ‘Conduct’, which was projected as chapter xx of book IV of the Essay, as its title clearly states. He would continue work on this topic until his death in 1704, but it was never finished and the manuscript breaks off in mid-sentence. In the course of this period he changed his views about the relation of this ever-expanding chapter with the Essay, and he came to regard it as a separate treatise. The inclusion of the ‘Conduct’ in Essay IV.xx, assuming that at that point Locke had not yet discounted the inclusion of ‘Enthusiasm’, would have placed it at the end of the Essay, followed only by the last chapter on the division of the sciences. The ‘Conduct’ contains a general analysis of the nature of error, the causes of error and the prevention and cure of error. This subject-matter explains the projected place of the ‘Conduct’ in the Essay. The latter work forms in many ways an alternative for the traditional Aristotelian logic, not build around terms, propositions and syllogisms, but around indivivual ideas (book II of the Essay) and combinations of ideas that should provide us with certain or probable knowledge (book IV). And just as the Aristotelian Organon had ended with a discussion in De sophisticis enlenchis of the errors that are relevant to syllogistic logic, so the ‘Conduct’ gives a discussion of the errors that are relevant to Locke’s new logic of ideas. Hence it is not surprising that the ‘Conduct’ was projected at the end of the Essay. Locke’s continued occupation with the defects of scholastic logic is bourne out by the fragments ‘By this learned art’ and ‘We cannot but think that angels’; and he starts the ‘Conduct’ with a critique of ‘The Logick now in use…’ (par. 2).
The ‘Conduct’ marks the culmination of a preoccupation with error that had gathered pace in the texts on ‘Method’, ‘Enthusiasm’, and ‘Association’. Error was so central to the philosophical interests of the older Locke, that the texts associated with this topic were all produced without the obvious presence of a clear external stimulus, unlike many of the other late philosophical fragments, which consequently tended to be smaller and less important than the three substantial contributions on ‘Enthusiasm’, ‘Association’ and the ‘Conduct’. The ‘Conduct’ would not be the last text on error; Locke would cover some of the same ground in 1698 in ‘Error’, a short entry in a commonplace book that is interesting because it points to the possible theological motivations for Locke’s interest in error, and hence to a connection with the main pursuit of his final years.
In a letter of 11 September 1697 Locke complained to Molyneux that his protracted struggle with Stillingfleet was distracting him from work on the additions to Education and the Essay. He also noted the publication of other attacks, which seemed to confirm the fears expressed in his earlier letter of 22 February. One of the adversaries that Locke mentioned in the letter of 11 September was ‘Mr Serjeant, a popish priest’, who had ‘bestow’d a thick octavo upon my Essay’. This is a reference to the Solid Philosophy Asserted, Against the fancies of the ideists (1697) by Father John Sergeant (1622-1707), which included a broad attack against various aspects of Locke’s ‘way of ideas’ and his suggestion about the possibility of thinking matter. Locke owned a copy of this work and used it to insert an extensive series of critical marginalia that were written in c. 1697-c. 1698. These notes have been included (‘Marginalia in John Sergeant’s Solid Philosophy’). In 1696, Sergeant himself had already sent Locke an earlier work, The Method to Science (1696) that also included critical remarks about Locke’s Essay; Locke’s (less numerous) marginalia in this book, concentrating on the nature of evidence, have been included as well (‘Marginalia in John Sergeant’s Method to Science’).
In 1697 and 1698 Thomas Burnett (1635?-1715) of the Charterhouse published three Remarks on Locke’s Essay. The first of Burnet’s two Remarks were published in 1697 and the third in 1698. Locke reacted to the first Remark in a postscript to his First Reply to Stillingfleet (1697). When he wrote the postcript, Locke was not yet aware that Burnet was the author of the anonymous Remarks. Samuel Bold briefed him about the identity of the author later in 1697. Locke also entered marginalia in Burnet’s first and the third Remarks. His marginalium in the first Remarks, produced in 1697, concerns Burnet’s criticism of Locke’s observation that there is no proof for the opinion that the soule always thinks (‘Marginalium in Thomas Burnet’s Remarks upon an Essay’). The marginalia in the third Remark, produced in 1699-c. 1700, react to Burnet’s attack of Locke’s denial of innate principles and the possibility of thinking matter (‘Marginalia in Thomas Burnet’s Third Remarks’).
In 1697 Samuel Bold had written a defence of Locke’s Reasonableness of Christianity. In 1698 he came again to Locke’s rescue; this time he tried to stem the tide of rising criticism against the Essay. Locke’s views about the possibility of thinking matter had not only angered Stillingfleet and Sergeant, but also the Cambridge theologian Robert Jenkin (1656-1727), who attacked the Essay in The Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion (1696-1697). In 1698 Bold wrote a reply against Stillingfleet and Jenkin, in which he defended not only Locke’s views on thinking matter, but also his concept of knowledge, which is not based on general maxims, but on the perception of the agreement or disagreement of ideas. He sent the manuscript to Locke, who supplied a list of amendments. Bold’s manuscript is lost, but Locke’s remarks have survived. Bold used most remarks for the final version of his reaction, Some Considerations of the Principal Objections and Arguments Which Have Been Publish’d Against Mr. Lock’s Essay Of Humane Understanding (1699). Locke’s remarks have been included as a separate text (‘Observations on Bold’s papers’), followed by a transcription of Some Considerations in which Locke’s remarks have been included at their approximate corresponding place (‘Samuel Bold, Some Considerations’).
In c. 1699 Locke wrote two short additions to the Essay, one (IV.xii.3) on ‘Maxims’ in which he denies that knowledge is derived from general maxims, and another (III.vi.26), ‘Monsieur Menage’, about the importance of nominal versus real essences. The topic of maxims figures in Locke’s marginalia in Sergeant’s Solid philosophy and in Bold’s Some Considerations; ‘Maxims’ is possibly related by this polemical context.
Finally, in 1702 Locke produced some observations on the difference between judging, election and resolution, ‘Voluntas’. In 1700 the French translation of the Essay by Pierre Coste had been published. Locke had sent a copy of this translation to Van Limborch, whose critical questions about the chapter II.xxi ‘Of Power’ would figure prominently in their correspondence of 1701-1702. One important topic in this discussion was the precise relation between the understanding and the will. The note on ‘Voluntas’ may have been elicited by this discussion.